A Review of Barclays Services & Features: Is Barclays a Good Bank for You?

FT Contributor  | 

To get the most value out of your bank accounts, it’s important to occasionally assess them. Comparing what other banks are charging customers in fees and what types of interest rates you can earn on your savings could help you get a better idea of whether your current bank is the best place for your deposits.

Imagine having $5,000 in an emergency savings fund at your current bank, earning 0.02% interest. You’ll earn only $1 on your $5,000 balance over a year. But if you move your money to a savings account that pays 1% interest, you’ll earn a little over $50 in a year.

If you’re not comparing how you can save money and earn more interest, you’re leaving free money on the table. Consider evaluating Barclays Bank’s features and interest rates to determine if it’s the right bank for you.

Barclays Services and Features

Barclays Bank started in London, England in 1690. For those interested in innovation, an interesting fact about the bank is it was the first in the world to introduce the ATM. Known initially in the U.S. for its customer loyalty and travel rewards credit cards, Barclays entered the American banking market by providing customers with online-only savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings Accounts

Barclays has an online savings account that currently pays 1% APY on your deposits. The account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, making it accessible for everyone interested in setting money aside. Consider opening more than one account to save for different goals. For example, you could have savings accounts for different purposes:

  • An emergency savings fund;
  • An account to save for a family vacation;
  • An account to put money aside for school expenses;
  • A home down payment savings account;
  • A savings account for your wedding;
  • To put money aside for a new car.

If you’re wondering how you would deposit the funds into your online Barclays savings account(s), you can request that a percentage of your paycheck’s direct deposit go into your savings account, or you can create a free monthly automated bank transfer from your main checking account at another bank to your Barclays savings account.

CD Accounts

Besides savings, you can deposit your money into a certificate of deposit for a set term to guarantee a certain interest rate. Barclays CDs come in terms of three months to five years with the following interest rates:

  • Three months: 0.35%;
  • Six months: 0.65%;
  • Nine months: 0.70%;
  • 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months: 0.85%.

Barclays Branch Locations

Barclays Bank currently has only five U.S. branch locations. But a nearby branch isn’t required — your savings account or CD can be fully managed online or through the mobile banking app. Because it’s a savings account, it won’t come with a debit card — you can transfer funds to other banks but you can’t withdraw cash from your account at an ATM.

Nevertheless, if you need to visit a branch, for whatever reason, there is one in each of the following cities:

  • Atlanta, Georgia;
  • Boston, Massachusetts;
  • Chicago, Illinois;
  • Dallas, Texas;
  • New York, New York.

Barclays Online Options

Signing up for a Barclays savings account is a fully online process. It works differently from a traditional bank and is one of the reasons the bank can pay higher-than-average interest and charge you no fees on your deposits. The bank doesn’t have the overhead that a brick-and-mortar bank has.

To manage your money, you’ll need to login to the online banking portal or use the Barclays U.S. Savings app. You can view your account activity and make transfers between your Barclays account and a linked external bank account.

Pros and Cons of Barclays

Weight the following benefits and drawbacks to decide if Barclays works for you.

Pros

  • Higher than average interest rates;
  • No fees;
  • No monthly minimum balance requirements;
  • Online banking portal;
  • Mobile banking app;
  • Five U.S. locations.

Cons

  • Account options limited to a savings account and CDs;
  • Only phone-based customer service available;
  • No online payment option;
  • No debit card or ATM withdrawals.

Is Barclays Right for You?

Barclays is right for you if you’re in need of a high-yield savings account or CD to set aside part of your money to grow. You’ll need to be comfortable with managing your savings account from your smartphone or the bank’s website, but the whole process is low maintenance — you don’t have many options other than sending or receiving money into the account.

If you prefer to work with a full-service bank with checking and savings account options and the ability to make cash ATM withdrawals, there are other online banks paying high-yield interest rates you should consider, such as Ally Bank. Otherwise, consider going with an investment bank account to earn more money on your savings.

How to Open an Account With Barclays

To open a bank account with Barclays, you’ll need to navigate to its online application page. Provide your name, phone number, date of birth, Social Security number, home address, and email address. To fund the account, you’ll need to have your external bank account’s routing number, and bank account number handy to make an electronic funds transfer.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/